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Costume, Kóstyom, and Dress: Formulations of Bagóbo Ethnic Identity in Southern Mindanao

Cherubim A. Quizon
Ethnology
Vol. 46, No. 4 (Fall, 2007), pp. 271-288
DOI: 10.2307/20456632
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20456632
Page Count: 18
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Costume, Kóstyom, and Dress: Formulations of Bagóbo Ethnic Identity in Southern Mindanao
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Abstract

The Bagóbo, a minority ethnic group in southern Mindanao, the Philippines, think about their traditional cloth and clothing as polysemic symbols of group identity and personhood. The range of meanings connects them to the larger communities of city, region, and nation. The Bagóbo call their ceremonial dress ompák (clothing) when discussing it among themselves but use kóstyom (costume) when talking to non-Bagóbo. The diminished use of such clothing for everyday use, as well as the increased visibility of iconic Mindanao tribal dress in high profile regional cultural festivals are repeated phenomena that the Bagóbo themselves project. The deployment of Bagóbo identity and other marketable ethnicities as spectacle in a regional heritage industry, commonly approached from the lens of political economy, is understood and interpreted in very different ways among the Bagóbo. Kóstyom, a neologism, symbolically and politically links them to the region and nation-state. Ompák, although referring to the same set of textiles, does not suggest performance for others but instead refers to one's existence as a Bagóbo and as a person. The same dress is present among different segments of Bagóbo, such as the neighboring Guiángan and Óbo, who speak different languages (resulting in distinct names for otherwise identical artifacts) but share ceremonial clothing as a resonant idiom for articulating and expressing belonging to the community.

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